Why do I feel squeezing sensation near my heart?


A squeezing sensation in the chest is a sign of reduced blood supply

Wednesday March 04 2020

Dr Flo,
Sometimes I experience a squeezing sensation in the chest area near my heart. There is also a certain feeling of irritation. The only consolation is that there is no chest pain and it’s not a serious ailment. Please enlighten me on this.

Dear ADW,
Having a squeezing sensation in the chest in the area of the heart may be a sign of reduced blood supply to the heart muscles, which shows an impending heart attack. This is more likely if you have other symptoms like an uncomfortable sensation in the arms, jaw, neck and back; difficulty breathing; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; fatigue; sweating or aching or heaviness of the arms.
The squeezing sensation may also be triggered by anxiety, muscle cramps or problems with other organs in the chest region.
It is advisable for you to be reviewed as soon as possible by a physician for relevant tests and treatment.

Dr Flo,
My palms and feet are always sweaty even when I’m not doing anything. What should I do to stop it?

Dear Joash,
Sweating is one of the ways the body regulates excessive heat. When the sweating is too much, in excess of what is needed for temperature regulation, it is called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis can affect the whole body or specific sites such as the face and head (craniofacial hyperhidrosis), the palms (palmar hyperhidrosis), the armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis) or the feet (plantar/pedal hyperhidrosis). The excessive sweating is not considered dangerous. But, the constant wetness of the skin makes it easier to get other skin conditions like fungal infections, eczema and cracking.
The excessive sweating is usually due to overactive sweat glands, due to miscommunication from the nerves. Most people have primary hyperhidrosis, which means the sweating is not caused by any disease or infection. It may be triggered by a part of the nervous system (neurological hyperhidrosis), by eating (gustatory hyperhidrosis) or have no obvious cause. In secondary hyperhidrosis, the sweating is due to another disease, for example, thyroid problem, diabetes, nervous system diseases or some medication. A child of a parent with hyperhidrosis has 25 per cent chance of suffering from the same. Hormonal changes and emotions can also trigger hyperhidrosis, for example, sweating when nervous.
The condition cannot be cured, but it can be managed. You should take a lot of water and wear cotton clothes. You can also apply aluminium chloride/chlorhydrate solution to the most affected areas prescribed by the doctor or from a chemist. If the sweating continues to be excessive, you can see a dermatologist for iontophoresis, which means that a mild electric current is passed to the most affected area through water. Some medication or injections may also be given by the dermatologist. In case another illness is suspected, the doctor will do the necessary checks to determine this.
Because the sweating may be triggered by emotional responses such as anxiety, fear and excitement, it would also be beneficial to learn relaxation techniques to help reduce it in stressful situations.

Dr Flo,
I have had these white patches for 10 years now. I have used different ointments in vain. Kindly help me.

I have a rash near my testicles, on the both sides of the thighs and it’s itchy. Sometimes there is discharge from the itchy areas. I was given some medicine and an ointment then the rash disappeared for a while. Now the rash is back. What might be the cause of the rash?


Dear AL and Kuks,
The white patches or rash is likely due to fungal infection. Recurring fungal infections could be due to misdiagnosis, not completing treatment, or a poor immune system. It could also be due to a genetic condition where the skin does not recognise the fungus as foreign matter and, therefore, the body does not try to get rid of it.
Many times, the fungi that cause infection usually live naturally on or in our bodies and only cause a problem when they multiply too much. This also means it is easy to get a fungal infection from another person, since they are also carrying fungi, and also from clothing, towels, lanyards, floors among others. Fungi like warm and wet environments, which is why it is easy to get infections between the toes, between the thighs or groin, under the breasts and where there are other skin folds.
Fungi also shed spores, which are like tiny seeds that collect in our clothes or shoes, waiting for the right conditions for them to grow again. This means if there are spores present, you can have proper treatment and then the infection comes back when the spores start growing.
This condition can be managed, though it may not be possible to get rid of it permanently. You need to visit a dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis. A sample of the skin from the white patch will be taken and examined. It would also be beneficial to check for any conditions that could lower your immunity such as diabetes and HIV. When you are put on medication, take it for the prescribed duration, even if the skin rash has disappeared. You may be put on medication for a long time since the problem has been there for a while. You can also take tablets or use a cream or anti-fungal shampoo occasionally after treatment to prevent regrowth. You can also apply antifungal powder to the shoes daily if you have infection on the feet. Also, clean shoes regularly and get rid of old ones. Clothes should be washed and sun dried in an airy place and, if possible, ironed inside-out. Also avoid sharing clothes, shoes and towels. Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes, wear cotton clothes and leather shoes.

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